DIY Florida Wedding
It didn’t take long for Tracy and Doug, two teachers, to meet, fall in love and tie the knot. Just one year after meeting by chance, they were exchanging vows in the bride’s hometown in Florida during the winter break off of school. Outdoor enthusiasts, the couple knew they wanted their day to center around nature and not even a little rain could dampen their plans. In fact, those umbrella photos are some of my favorite of the whole set! You’ll love the portraits shot by Ryan Ray, where the couple is surrounded by stunning sculptural trees and that lush Florida landscape. The rain just makes it all the more romantic!
From the bride, Tracy: Out of all the places to have a wedding like the one we envisioned, my parents’ house seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They own a beautiful ranch-style home in Jupiter Farms, Florida, that they graciously offered to us. We chose to have the ceremony in the back yard (which changed three days before the wedding!), the cocktail hour in the barn and the reception in the pasture. Less than a week before the wedding, Doug and I were biking through a nearby park and came across a Seminole battlefield scattered with large oak and cypress trees. We decided to change the ceremony location to the battlefield and we then had to call all 75 guests to inform them of the change!
Doug and I spend the majority of our time outdoors, so I knew right away that I wanted to incorporate that into our theme (he proposed on one of our camping trips, so an outdoor wedding seemed necessary). I started searching for décor inspiration on the Web, using wedding blogs and Etsy as a starting point. Then, I searched for materials to use for centerpieces, like vintage books and mason jars from a free teacher resource center. We drilled antiqued address numbers into the books, and those acted as table numbers. The mason jars were filled with lavender and ferns from my parents’ yard, and surrounded with candles and pine cones.
Doug and I wanted our wedding to feel intimate, and we wanted our guests to be comfortable, entertained and well-fed. My mom, aunts, sister, sister-in-law and neighbors cooked everything! We wanted a lot of comfort food, so we opted for prime rib, ham, pumpkin ravioli, sweet potato casserole and vegetables for dinner. It was also important to me that we make, paint, or build nearly all of the decorations for a DIY, rustic feel (but mainly because it’s just fun to create things). We stayed away from designs that were too traditional, and instead opted for anything that seemed to fit into an outdoor setting.
My dad and Doug built a beautiful, rustic bar out of refurbished barn wood and an old barn door that was donated by a neighbor. We added antique fixtures like doorknobs and keyholes, plus our initials (also hand-cut from old wood) to complete the project.
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? I know it sounds trite, but don’t stress! Honestly, it isn’t worth it. Things will go wrong and the weather may not cooperate, but you have to remember that, at the end of that day, you are going to be married whether or not everything comes together perfectly. Doug and I wanted the wedding to feel effortless. We made decisions quickly, and saw setbacks as opportunities, not disasters.
Also, be sure to enjoy all of the little projects that you undertake for the wedding. Looking back, all I remember are the laughs we had while working on projects, the stories told during our time with family, and the love we felt surrounding us every day. Just before the wedding day, I remember Doug saying that his favorite part of the whole process was just spending time with everyone while we worked on all the tiny details. I think that made it all the more special when everything seemed to fall into place in the end.
Wedding Vendors (Jupiter, FL):
Ceremony venue: Riverbend Park / Reception venue: Bride’s family home / Florist: Anna Flowers / Photographer: Ryan Ray / Wedding Dress: Nordstrom’s / Shoes: Dolce Vita / Hair: Salon Cielo and Spa / Hairpieces: Tallulah Opal / Makeup: Sephora / Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Angelo / Bridesmaid earrings: Allison Mooney / Groom’s ties: Calvin Klein / DJ and guitar player: Jim Breen of Tradewinds Music / Catering: family / Wedding Cake: Sweet Endings Desserts / Cake Toppers: Samyii / Wedding invitations: Captured Moments